Obama's Afghanistan dilemma

October 21, 2009 1:04:02 PM PDT
What a fascinating conundrum for President Obama. The man who ran for office as an anti-war candidate, who now finds himself pondering whether to escalate the war in Afghanistan, a country where no outside force has ever been victorious.

On the table: increase the U.S. force by 40,000 (or 80,000?), something less than that, or forget about Afghanistan and send troops to Pakistan to fight al-Qaeda.

The Pentagon clearly wants more troops, and the president seems to be leaning in that direction.

But now comes Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who has been something of a de-facto Secretary of State the past few days - engaging in shuttle diplomacy with Afghan leaders. (Kerry insists he had Hillary Clinton's blessings.)

If we're to believe the reports out of Kabul, Kerry helped convince President Hamid Karzai to a run-off election against his former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah. Karzai was reluctant to accept the findings of a panel that said fraud was widespread in last summer's election, and that Karzai had failed to legitimately get 50 percent of the vote. A runoff is set for Nov. 7.

Should President Obama make a troop decision before then? A huge debate now underway. Sen. Kerry is urging a delay. We'll see, and we'll have the latest, tonight at 11.

Speaking of Mr. Obama, he's in town again tonight, campaigning for New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine. The Secret Service says it stopped yet another threat against the president today, arresting a private security guard at Newark Airport, hours before Mr. Obama landed there.

We're with the Obama "campaign" tonight at 11.

Also at 11, our investigative reporter Jim Hoffer has a big development in a story he broke a couple of months ago. He reported on some workers who, on their private Facebook pages, criticized their bosses. They were fired when it was discovered. They sued. And they've won.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

P.S.: One more note about us. Eyewitness News is now on iPhone! We have a new way you can get Eyewitness News anytime, anywhere. Our new iPhone app is waiting for you in the Apple store. Just fire up your iPhone and search the App Store for 7online.com or WABC. It's free, of course, and it has the very latest Eyewitness News stories, video, our AccuWeather forecast and much more. You can get movie times, sports scores, flight info and the list goes on and on...


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